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As a pensioner you may find it difficult to qualify for a loan from the banks. A big obstacle that most many pensioners face is being on a fixed income that really only covers living expenses with little left over. Banks and other large lenders tend to view this as a negative in their approval criteria among other things. Whilst the banks may not be a great option for obtaining financial help, there are other flexible options.
If you have struggled with debt and have late repayments in your financial history, your credit rating would reflect this. Being considered a bad credit risk can eliminate you from consideration for certain types of loans. Fortunately, there are still financial programs listed below that can provide assistance.
As with any type of loan, you will need to provide your personal and financial details along with income sources.
Compare Pensioner Loan Options
When reviewing any type of loan it is important to do your due diligence. Entering into a loan under poor terms can make your financial situation worse. Below are some tips on how to avoid engaging with un-reputable lenders.
- Always check online reviews
- Always search for online complaints
- Use comparison sites but be wary, many of these sites only promote lenders that advertise with them. They may not disclose the actual best loans for pensioners.
- Verify the lenders are appropriately licenced, this can be done with a quick search on ASIC
Following the above tips will help keep you falling victim to scams or predatory lenders.
Quick view – See loan and benefit options for specific circumstances here.
Below are multiple loan and money assistance programs for those on a pension
Specialist Lender: Seniors often have issues qualifying for work if they don’t have a source of income outside of benefits or a pension. This is where a specialist lender may be a good option. They provide loans from $1000 to $5000 and generally have flexible approval criteria, even helping those with bad credit – Learn more and apply here.
Speckle Loans: This is a small short term loan with lending amounts from $200 – $2000 with a pay back period between 3 and 12 months. Those collecting Centrelink benefits can qualify however no more than 50% of your total income can be made up of benefits.
StepUp: The StepUp loans are low value loans that range from the high hundreds to the low thousands and are short term, fixed rate and low interest options ideal for a number of situations. Be it a sudden medical bill, crucial household repair or even if you’re just running a bit short this month, these small value loans, if paid back on schedule, can just the boost you need to help make that small emergency a thing of the past.
No Interest Loan Schemes: Commonly known as NILS; these are specialised loan schemes that are suited to anyone who requires financial help that serves to only improve the situation without any long term drawbacks. Since only those who receive government welfare are eligible for NILS, they are assured to be ideal for pensioners. All NILS applicants must possess a Centrelink pension card, which allows you to borrow in excess of a thousand dollars with absolutely no interest. There is no catch. These can be utilised for any purpose from household refurbishing, to auto maintenance or medical emergencies. Any regional community centre should be able to help with applying for NILS. The only documentation required is proof that repayment within a year and a half is possible.
Advance payments: A special advantage that Centrelink provides Australian pensioners are the advance payments that one is entitled to. You can get an advance payment of either one week or three week’s pay. The amount must be returned within a six month period, interest free. In the six month period you are allowed the option of choosing one advance payment of the highest allowed amount or three separate payments of the lowest allowed amount.
Good Money: Is a three way partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, State Governments and NAB. They assist residents of Victoria access low or no interest personal loans for the purchase of household goods. In addition to loan assistance, they also can assist with medical expenses, bills, debt and other money matters.
Pensioner Loans Scheme: This particular loan is for seniors who are of pension age (64+ for women & 65+ for men) but don’t qualify for the Age Pension because of high incomes or asset value. This scheme allows you to obtain capital tied up in your assets to provide you with extra income. For detailed information visit humanservices.gov.au
If you are experiencing serious financial stress and are not collecting Centrelink benefits, try using the Centrelink benefits calculators to see if you qualify for some financial assistance. If you are already collecting Centrelink, try using the compare calculator or estimator to see if there is additional pensioner assistance you may qualify for.
Banks: Most of the banks in Australia do provide loans to pensioners. Applying through your bank may prove your best chances of approval as you already have a relationship with them. As with any lender, each application is looked at on a case by case basis. In addition, some banks may require your pension income be taxable to be accepted and if you are collecting benefits, a letter from Centrelink detailing your payments may be required.
Charities: If none of these options are what you are looking for, there are always a number of charitable foundations that might be willing to help out pensioners. Assistance in the form of money for utilities, sustenance and shelter are available from a number of organisations like the Salvation Army, etc. You can visit Australian Charities and Non-profits Commission for a list of all major charities that provide support for pensioners.
If non of the above options are unable to assist you with your financial situation, try reaching out to a free financial counselor at http://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Home as they may have alternative solutions to your financial needs.
In addition to the above loan options, seniors can also take advantage of specially designed savings programs.
AddsUP: Is a program which is an extension of the NILS and StepUp programs. Its essentially a savings program where there is a matched savings from AddsUP, they will match each dollar you put into the savings after you have saved $300 on your own, the matching is capped at $500. This is a great program as it helps participants create a emergency fund which an give them a bit of peace of mind and cash for unexpected financial emergencies.
Saver Plus: Similar to AddsUP, this is a savings program for low income earners and their families. It also is a dollar for dollar matching program that is capped at $500.
These different programs are excellent options for seniors looking to take out a pensioner loan as they are low cost and specifically designed for those on a fixed or low income.
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